October 26, 2023

Contact: Stephanie Gomory, [email protected], 802-223-6304 x111

Montpelier, VT – The ACLU of Vermont yesterday presented its highest honor to housing advocate Brenda Siegel for “her courageous advocacy on behalf of people experiencing housing insecurity in Vermont.”

ACLU of Vermont President Bill Boyd: “We are pleased to honor Brenda Siegel in recognition of her persistent and inspiring advocacy on behalf of the many Vermonters who are unhoused, facing eviction, or struggling to pay their rent. With great integrity and compassion, she has centered their voices and lived experiences, acted where the state has failed to act, and focused attention on these injustices in our communities—and the urgent need for solutions.” 

The ACLU notes that this has been an especially difficult year for people facing housing insecurity in Vermont, which now has the second-highest rate of homelessness in the country. Amid a statewide housing crisis, the governor and state policymakers sought to end Vermont’s emergency housing program, and hundreds of people lost shelter before a partial compromise was reached in June. A month later, catastrophic flooding displaced hundreds more from their homes and sheltering sites.  

ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall: “As an outspoken advocate in the State House, Brenda Siegel has refused to let policymakers ignore the real-world consequences of their decisions. By speaking truth to power, she changed the conversation, highlighting the impacts of Vermont’s ongoing housing policy failures on the lives of real people, and pointing the way towards a more humane and equitable state for all of us.”

Past recipients of the David W. Curtis Civil Liberties Award include Vermont NAACP leadership, Migrant Justice, Bob Gensburg, Beth Robinson, Phil Hoff, and other state leaders who have advanced human rights and civil liberties in Vermont.